Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Last Tin Shui Wai Update

Sab and I celebrating Halloween at the school in 2004.

And so it is....

It's the last night here in Tin Shui Wai. The place i have called home since October 2004. Right now as i'm trying to stay awake after a heavy nights celebrating Sab and mines farewell i have come to the conclusion that even though Tin Shui Wai was out of the city, it was my world for nearly two years.

During my time here, surrounded by endless apartment towers, cranky pedestrians and the never ending smell of chicken feet some fantastic events shaped my life and here are my top five.

1. Martine - Not only did she make me feel so special and loved but she was (and still is) one of the most beautiful people i've ever met. The time we spent together was magical and i still miss her smile.

2. Jimmy Barnes Concert - Not only was this the best night i ever had in Hong Kong but getting a photo with the man himself was just mind blowing. The music, the food, the view from Victoria Peak plus the vibe was just amazing. Did i mention Sab and i got a photo with the Tin Lids?

3. Ability to Travel - Being so close to other countries have given me the opportunity to see some magical places (such as Halong Bay, Vietnam) tries delicious food (Little India, Kuala Lumpur) and meet some of the locals (the ladyboy who tried to pick me up one night on Koh Samui)

4. Friends - I have met some fantastic people here from all over the world and they have made my time here magical. Special mentions to Candace, Kate and Gary. You are three of the coolest and nicest people i have met and i hope we can stay in contact in the future. To the Chinese Teachers at the International Play School of Topkids, thank you from the bottom of my heart for being some of the most kindest, patient and happy people on the planet. Even though there are days where one or two of us are feeling down, we have stuck together and become great friends.

5. The Kids - On the rare occasions where i feel like i really don't want to be teaching, the kids at the kindergarten have made me feel the desire never to go back to working in a cubicle. The kids in my classes keep me on my toes all the time with their ability to amaze me and make a nothing day seem great. I have loved seeing the progress of my kids and watching them develop their own personalities has been the highlight for me. The lowlight - the stupid maths book we have to teach.

There are plenty more memories that have come my way in the past 21 months and the person i want to thank the most is Sab. We have been travelling around for over two years and we are still having a blast. Shes an amazing person and i'm lucky to have her as my friend and travel buddy.

I've written many emails from Tin Shui Wai and well as of this time tomorrow, my time in Hong Kong will have ended. So i'll end this one with this little thought. Being in such a mad mad city as Hong Kong has given me the chance to appreciate life a hell of a lot more. There is so much to see in this world and in a place like Hong Kong the experience of finding something new happens nearly every day.

I'm looking forward to a change of perspective but i want acknowledge the importance Hong Kong has played in my's given me something to look forward to in the future and that is the confidence to find my own way in life wherever it takes me.

Thanks Tin Shui Wai

Friday, March 11, 2016

Hong Kong - My other "Island Home."

My Hong Kong "Gang of Four"

Landing in Hong Kong on the various times we have come back from adventures on holidays always filled me with a sence of coming back the "real world" that Sab and i had made for ourselves. This time around it was a completely different emotion that hijacked me, the feeling of sadness. Hong Kong is such a wonderful city and i had such a wonderful time in my 21 months there that even though my time in Hong Kong started to become a little monotnous for the few mon ths before we left, there is a magical pull that the city will have on me for the rest of my life.

In short, I love Hong Kong.

Landing at the airport this time around was certainly more exciting as Sab and i made our way back to the city to meet up with Kate who was nice enough to have us crash at her place for a few days. Kate is such a lovely friend and we were lucky that even with her apartment that was about as big as a phone box she still managed to find enough room for two of us and all the crap we carried in our bags as well, including my traditional Cambodian cow bell. Sab and i had to organise flights and also organise a way to get our boxes that were gathering dust at my Chinese co-teachers place in Tin Shui Wai. Sabs experience in the freight world automatically took me to the travel agent but that would wait for a couple of days.

Before we knew it we were back at the airport as Candace's boyfriend Gary was going back to "Ingerland" to study. They are such a lovely couple and it was sad seeing the two of them depart because even for me, they just seem so great together. Candace wasn't feeling the best naturally so Sab, Kate and myself went back to Candaces for a couple of drinks and just to be in each others company..i love that little group. Friday morning found us back in Tin Shui Wai and back at Topkids whereby we were greeted with nothing but smiles and hugs from the kids and the Chinese teachers. To quote Sab from her blog "It felt like a rockstars return to see the kids."

Two of the coolest kids in Tin Shui Wai. Matthew and his adorable little sister Savannah

That night i was invited to a BBQ (Chinese style) by a parent of one of the kids i taught and Sab got roped in as well. I enjoyed the night talking to the parents and finally being honest about what i thought of the school and of Hong Kong in general. In my mind i thought "Sab and i must have done something right as the kids and the parents love us." We were just ourselves or maybe we wanted the kids to be kids for a little while.

Karaoke is a central part of working with Chinese Teachers. Remember that.

Saturday took us out to Karaoke whereby we had a wonderful time with some of the Chinese teachers and it was topped off that night by drinks at my favourite funky bar in Hong Kong (Joyce is not Here - Peel Street - Central- on the Island) and then dinner at our favourite and some what sentimental restaurant Jaspas. This dinner (the gang of four again) was so wonderful and the feeling of leaving was starting to hit me that night. there was no time to get teary as Lan Kwai Fong was calling us for the last time and after seeing a couple of slighty tipsy Irish girls (Fiona and Nicola who we used to work with) it really topped off the night. The last time i saw Nicola was down Kho Sarn Road in Bangkok a few weeks earlier so it was just wonderful to see them again.

Sunday was pretty quiet as i had one last dinner with the family whose kids i used to tutor on Tuesday nights. The kids names are Sherman (the girl) and Herman (the boy) and the whole family fantastic. The mum is a hostess on Cathay and she just came back from Melbourne the day before with fresh lamb and cheeses from the Queen Vic Market so i was getting a taste of home in a satellite town in the outskirts of Honkers. They are my Hong Kong family and hopefully i'll be able to introduce my Hong Kong mum..shirly to my mum..Dana when Shirly flies into Melbourne next time.

Thanks to Candace she has got me onto "Little Britain" and just the three of us at her place that night (we moved to Candaces from Kates as Candace is closer to the airport) was just a really sweet way to spend our last night in Hong Kong. The next morning we were back at the airport for the third time in 5 days and off to Saigon. We flew out hoping one day we will get back there.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Change of site

Hi everyone,

From now on all my blog related stuff will be on

So cut the link and enjoy!

Thanks :)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Too long to wait, too soon to leave.

The morning after i saw Sab for the last time before she went to Perth, i had been counting down the days since i would see her again.

After seeing her this time last week, i will be counting down those days again.

You see people in all honesty, no-one understands me like Sab. We love being in each others company and we are completley at ease with each other. In fact she is so relaxed around me she fell asleep when we were watching 'Frasier' which she hasn't done in Perth at all...except when i am around. She used to do it all the time when we were together actually. So what did i feel when i saw Sab pull into the driveway at Stacey's (thats Irena's daughter. Irenea is the lady who joined me on this trip) house after getting lost on the way? Well i ran to the car and gave her a huge hug. I wanted time to stand still.

I had never been to Perth before and i had been looking forward to seeing the city and all that it had to offer. I was looking forward to seeing Sabs life that she has made for herself as well. The flight over to Perth took four hours and when i get on a plane all i want to do is drink!! The flight over though was in the morning and i thought i needed a sugar kick so i decided to purchase a "turbo boost muffin" that had so much sugar in it, i felt i could have gone outside and pushed the plane myself! The flight eventually touched down (along with my sugar level) and i must say Perth Airport is a little smaller than the one i left earlier in the day. I was met by Stacey and whisked away to her place and whilst Stacey and Irena were getting the house ready for Stacey's baby shower the next day (i helped out as well..thank you very much) i was just counting down the minutes to seeing Sab again.

Later in the night after a couple of phone calls from Sab who couldn't find the way, i finally saw her and as i said before, i wanted time to stand still. On the drive back to Sab's place we had a good old chat (even though we chat pretty much everyday) and fired up some old classics we used to listen to on the way to Uni. So by the time i arrived at Sab's unit we were already into the old routine. I finally met Sab's roomates Abby and Jihan who are both wonderful people. I think Abby and Jihan hadn't seen a certain side of Sab before and what i mean by that is the person before she came to Perth. After splitting a pizza, getting some grog from the bottle shop up the road and just relaxing and being in each others company, i had an early night as did Sab as she finished her two week prac that day and quite rightly was stuffed.

Early Saturday morning Sab and I were in South Perth to begin my tour of the city. Now Perth i mustg admit is a lovely city to look at from afar but once inside the city centre i found out quite quickly that it is a large country town. I was amazed in the middle of the afternoon on a Saturday that the CBD was dead. Out of the hour we spent in the city, about half of that was spent inside Borders bookstore (the only one in Perth) and before i knew it we were on the road again. After Sab telling me about the pathetic Western Australian road system (which is true as for some reason in WA two lanes can suddenly become one without warning) and getting lost on those same roads as well, we found ourselves in South Perth again to catch up with a couple blasts from our pasts.

We met Steve and Steph in Dalian and Sab and I were both dissapointed that we didn't keep in contact with them more as much as we did after we all went our own ways. Still seeing these two again after such a long time and just instantly being at ease with them again was a delight. They are wonderful people and the four of us talked about what had happened since we said our goodbyes in 2004 and where we are going in the future. After saying goodbyes, Sab and I were back to her place to get changed to go out for dinner with friends of my family and may i say, one of the nicest families on the planet. It was off to Fremantle with Peter, Kathy and their two really cool kids Jayden and Krystal. I hadn't seen them for about four years yet in the lead up to the weekend, Kathy kept saying "Call me when you get here and we'll go out for dinner" and the dinner we had that night (Italian in Fremantle) was sensational. Sabrina playing 'Dance Dance Revolution' was a sight to see (which you will all see soon) but all i know is that with each second with Sab, i was getting happier and happier just being with her.

After dinner it was off to Perths nightlife mecca, Northbridge. Now Northbridge in hindsight was a pretty dodgy place to be. The pubs all had the same type of music and setup plus there was no real style in the clothing of the people there. I was surprised that Perth didn't have more lounge bars or variety in it's nightlife but all i can say is the only way to truely appreciate what i'm trying to say is by going there. I'll try and explain it though by saying this. If you love rock, cheap shots, thongs, people with no sence of fashion(a point Sab and I agreed with..Melbourne chicks and guys look a lot more classy when going out) and a get shitfaced attitude then Northbridge is the place to be. As it was the night of the F.A. Cup Final and my team Chelsea was playing, we just had to watch the game in a really nice pub called the Brass Monkey. The game itself was pretty boring (even though my team won) and the two of us were stuffed and just wanted to get to bed. The highlight of the night was standing at the top of the so-called Taxi Rank and the security lady telling me "If you see a cab that is free down the street, just run and get it." Once again, this was the person organising the taxi rank!!!

Sunday morning quite relaxed and before i knew it we were at the Fremantle Market. I picked up a couple of pieces of art, some Tiramasu and Choc Mint coffee and also saw a clairvoyant (the same as Sab) which was an interesting experience let me tell you. Then Sab was driving me to the Subiaco Oval to watch my team (Melbourne) play like little bitches against the reigning premiers (West Coast) and even though we lost by a huge margin, it was great to see 40,000 fans support one team and it was more like being at a basketball game then a football game. Sab picked me up later and then we were off to Fremantle again to have what i can say without a shadow of a doubt, the best fish and chips i have EVER tasted. We had a pretty deep and meaningful discussion there as well and then before i knew it, Sunday night was here and Abby joined Sab and I in a few drinks and a bit of a dance in the kitchen.

I don't really want to talk about Monday as it's still sad to think about. It will be November before i see Pudden again and it hit home to me how crucial she is to my life and how amazing our friendship is. I love her so much and i know that what she is doing is the best thing for her and as selfish as this sounds, i feel like i want her all to myself because i know how wonderful a person she is but there are greener pastures out there in the world for both of us but no matter where our lives take us, we will always be together.


Thursday, May 24, 2007